Sunday, December 27, 2009

DEATH: Stephen Toulmin (1922 - 2009).

Update (December 27, 2009): Original Post (December 9, 2009): Stephen Edelston Toulmin, University Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern California, and one of the most influential ethical philosophers of the latter half of the 20th century, has died. Together with Chaim Perelman, he was also hailed in rhetorical circles as one of the most important theorists of argument (equated with 'informal logic' by some) in the twentieth century. . . . More information may be found here:

Sahlins, Marshall. "The Anthropology of Claude Levi-Strauss." AANET.ORG July 8, 2009.

For ninety-nine percent of human history, Levi-Strauss once observed, a divided humanity did not know the other modes of life, the other beliefs and the other institutions that Anthropology since the end of the nineteenth century has been called upon to understand. More than any other science or discipline, Anthropology became the self-consciousness of the human species in all its varieties and all its similarities. There developed a line of global thinkers of human cultures — E.B. Tylor, Lewis Henry Morgan, Franz Boas, Emile Durkheim, Marcel Mauss, A.R. Radcliffe-Brown, Bronislaw Malinowski — of whom, alas, it seems that Levi-Strauss is the last. Levi-Strauss is apparently the last with a pan-human vision, the last to embrace the study of all the cultural expressions of humanity as the only way of knowing what mankind is. More than once he has quoted Rousseau on that score: "When one proposes to study men, one only needs to look at those nearby; but in order to study man, one has to look afar; for it is necessary to observe the differences in order to discover the properties." Hence the title of an influential collection of Levi-Strauss's essays, The View from Afar (1988). Levi-Strauss's grand ambition has been to discover the universal laws of human thought underlying the great diversity of cultures known to Anthropology. In the pursuit of that ambition, he developed an ethnographic knowledge of the planet unparalleled by any scholar before and unlikely to be duplicated by anyone again. A master of Native American cultures North and South, he also supported his famous structuralist theories with detailed descriptions of indigenous customs from every other continent, as well as from remote islands of the South Seas and the nearby practices and histories of European societies. . . . Read the rest here:

"A Tribute to Isaiah Berlin." THE PHILOSOPHER'S ZONE December 19, 2009.

Isaiah Berlin was born in Russia a hundred years ago, on 6 June 1909. He grew up to be a distinguished philosopher, a great historian of ideas - tracing the origins and vicissitudes of liberal thought over the last few centuries - and an eloquent defender of liberty. He was a man with very many friends and, this week, we talk about him with one of them: the British political philosopher John Gray. . . . Listen or read the transcript here:

Pub: Chambers, Samuel A., and Michael O'Rourke, eds. JACQUES RANCIERE ON THE SHORES OF QUEER THEORY. BORDERLANDS 8.2 (2009).

Introduction: Samuel A. Chambers and Michael O'Rourke, Jacques Rancière on the Shores of Queer Theory Essays: Todd May, There are no Queers: Jacques Rancière and Post-Identity Politics Samuel A. Chambers, A Queer Politics of the Democratic Miscount Chas. Phillips, Difference, Disagreement and the Thinking of Queerness Oliver Davis, Rancière and Queer Theory: On Irritable Attachment Sudeep Dasgupta, Words, Bodies, Times: Queer Theory Before and After Itself Nina Power, Non-Reproductive Futurism: Rancière’s Rational Equality against Edelman’s Body Apolitic Hector Kollias, How Queer is the Demos? Politics, sex, and equality Patricia MacCormack, Inhuman Evanescence Richard Stamp, The Torsion of Politics and Friendship in Derrida, Foucault and Rancière Paul Bowman, Aberrant Pedagogies: JR, QT and Bruce Lee Roger Cook, Aesthetic Revolution, the Staging of (‘Homosexual’) Equality and Contemporary Art Daniel Williford, Queer Aesthetics Afterword: Adrian Rifkin, Oh I do like to be beside the seaside (Now Voyager) ... on misunderstanding Rancière and Queer Theory Reviews: Anatoli Ignatov, The Re-turn to the Other: In Search of New Ontologies of International Relations (Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political: Expanded Edition; Anthony Burke, Beyond Security, Ethics and Violence: War against the Other; Louiza Odysseos, The Subject of Coexistence: Otherness in International Relations) Edward Cavanagh, Settler Revolutions and Indigenous Dissolutions (James Belich, Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and theRise of the Anglo-world, 1783-1939) Mark W. Westmoreland, Race, Racism and (Pedagogical) Rupture (Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, Race and Racism: an Introduction) Access the issue here:

Wylie, Alison, Elizabeth Potter, and Wenda K. Bauchspies. "Feminist Perspectives on Science." STANFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY (December 2009)

Feminists have a number of distinct interests in, and perspectives on, science. The tools of science have been a crucial resource for understanding the nature, impact, and prospects for changing gender-based forms of oppression; in this spirit, feminists actively draw on, and contribute to, the research programs of a wide range of sciences. At the same time, feminists have identified the sciences as a source as well as a locus of gender inequalities: the institutions of science have a long tradition of excluding women as practitioners; feminist critics of science find that women and gender (or, more broadly, issues of concern to women and sex/gender minorities) are routinely marginalized as subjects of scientific inquiry, or are treated in ways that reproduce gender-normative stereotypes; and, closing the circle, scientific authority has frequently served to rationalize the kinds of social roles and institutions that feminists call into question. Feminist perspectives on science therefore reflect a broad spectrum of epistemic attitudes toward and appraisals of science. Some urge the reform of gender inequities in the institutions of science and call for attention to neglected questions with the aim of improving the sciences in their own terms; they do not challenge the standards and practices of the sciences they engage. Others pursue jointly critical and constructive programs of research that, to varying degrees, aim at transforming the methodologies, substantive content, framework assumptions, and epistemic ideals that animate the sciences. The content of these perspectives, and the degree to which they generate transformative critique, depends not only on the types of philosophical and political commitments that inform them but also on the nature of the sciences and subject domains on which they bear. Feminist perspectives have had greatest impact on sciences that deal with inherently gendered subjects—the social and human sciences—and, secondarily, on sciences that study subjects characterized in gendered terms, metaphorically or by analogy (projectively gendered subjects), chiefly the biological and life sciences. Feminist perspectives are relevant to sciences that deal with non-gendered subject matters, but perspectives vary substantially in content and in critical import depending on the sciences and the particular research programs they engage. . . . Read the rest here:

Rader, Richard. Review of Simon Goldhill, et al., eds. SOPHOCLES AND THE GREEK TRAGIC TRADITION. BMCR (December 2009).

Goldhill, Simon, and Edith Hall, eds. Sophocles and the Greek Tragic Tradition. Cambridge: CUP, 2009.

I had a dismaying experience recently while introducing Greek tragedy in my Mythology course. Out of curiosity I asked how many students (of 700) had at some point prior to my class read Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus. Only about 10 percent raised their hands. Slightly shocking. What really struck me was that the question I followed with--how many were at least familiar with the story of Oedipus--elicited the same number of hands. That's simply frightening. It's one thing to be unfamiliar with Trachiniae or Seven against Thebes, quite another to be unacquainted with perhaps the most notorious figure of Western literature, one especially with such a memorably sordid life. I suspect Simon Goldhill and Edith Hall, two of the most prolific supporters of Greek tragedy and editors of Sophocles and the Greek Tragic Tradition, a Festschrift in honor of Pat Easterlin, have had similar experiences in the classroom. I wish I could say their book is likely to right this pedagogical situation, but I'm not going to hold my breath. All the same, Goldhill and Hall have produced a fine book, one that re-appraises Sophocles' legacy in a way that repays consideration. I have (at times serious) differences regarding the premises and conclusions of some of the essays, but these I see primarily as the negotiations of a dialogue initiated by this book, one that I hope will continue even after the ink has dried on my review. . . .

Read the whole review here:

"Virtue and Economic Crises," Mykolas Romeris University, July 29-August 1, 2010.

Fourth Annual Conference, International Society for MacIntyrean Philosophy. Keynote Speakers: Bob Brecher (Center for Research and Development, University of Brighton) Zenonas Norkus (Department of Sociology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Vilnius) John O’Neill (School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester) Clemens K. Stepina (Institute for Theatre, Film and Media Sciences, University of Vienna) Alasdair MacIntyre once argued that Karl Marx left philosophy and turned to political economy at a time when his philosophical enquiry was still incomplete. From After Virtue to Dependent Rational Animals Alasdair MacIntyre’s work has laid a solid philosophical foundation for building an understanding of the nature of human rationality, virtue and practice. One aim of this conference is to use MacIntyre’s work in thinking through some of the challenges and problems we face today: the crumbling neo-liberal economic order, equitable economic development, the role of virtue in the practices of production, and the lack of democracy in the dominant economic institutions of production.Further, this conference aims to encourage interdisciplinary research into the field of ethics, philosophy, political economy, social theory and theology in order to think through the moral as well as political aspects of the future of economic development. Its underlying presupposition rests in our belief that the orthodox neoclassical economic theory – the rational individual consumer aiming to maximize his/her preferences at any cost – has to be theoretically challenged. A robust Aristotelian social theory and moral philosophy can contribute in rethinking some of these presuppositions and beliefs. Possible Topics: 1. The importance of moral and intellectual virtues for equitable economic development. 2. What are the moral and philosophical presuppositions behind the neoclassical economic thought and behind the existing socio-economic order of market capitalism? 3. What can economic theory learn from moral philosophy and virtue ethics? 4. What is the role of business ethics in times of economic crises? Please submit proposals, including title and abstract, of no more than 350 words to: Dr. Andrius Bielskis, Department of Politics, Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania, e-mail: Conference website:

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pub: Patzia, Michael. "Xenophanes." INTERNET ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY (December 2009).

Xenophanes of Colophon was a traveling poet and sage with philosophical leanings who lived in ancient Greece during the sixth and the beginning of the fifth centuries BCE. There are a significant number of surviving fragments for such an early figure, and the poetic verses available to us indicate a broad range of issues. These include comments on religion, knowledge, the natural world, the proper comportment at a banquet, as well as other social teachings and commentary. Despite his varying interests, he is most commonly remembered for his critiques of popular religion, particularly false conceptions of the divine that are a byproduct of the human propensity to anthropomorphize deities. According to Xenophanes, humans have been severely mislead by this tendency, as well as the scriptures of the day, and he seemed intent on leading his audience toward a perspective on religion that is based more on rationality and less on traditionally held beliefs. His theological contributions were not merely negative, however, for he also presented comments that support the notion of divine goodness, and many have speculated that he may have been the first monotheist, or even pantheist, in the Western intellectual tradition. The possibility that Xenophanes endorsed the perspective of divine unity led Plato and Aristotle to designate him as the founder of the Eleatic school of philosophy, and some have classified him (though probably erroneously) as having been Parmenides’ teacher. Many of Xenophanes’ poetic lines are concerned with the physical world and the fragments show some very inventive attempts to demythologize various heavenly phenomena. An example of this is his claim that a rainbow is nothing but a cloud. He also postulated that earth and water are the fundamental “stuffs” of nature and, based in part on his observations of fossils, he held the view that our world has gone through alternating periods of extreme wetness and dryness. Another area in which Xenophanes made some seminal comments is epistemology. In addition to endorsing a critical rationality toward religious claims, he encouraged a general humility and skepticism toward all knowledge claims and he attempted to discourage dogmatic arrogance. . . .

Read the rest here:

Pub: Hernandez, Jill Graper. "Gabriel Marcel." INTERNET ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY (December 2009).

The philosophical approach known as existentialism is commonly recognized for its view that life’s experiences and interactions are meaningless. Many existentialist thinkers are led to conclude that life is only something to be tolerated, and that close or intimate relationships with others should be avoided. Heard distinctly among this despair and dread was the original philosophical voice of Gabriel Marcel. Marcel, a World War I non-combatant veteran, pursued the life of an intellectual, and enjoyed success as a playwright, literary critic, and concert pianist. He was trained in philosophy by Henri Bergson, among others. A prolific life-long writer, his early works reflected his interest in idealism. As Marcel developed philosophically, however, his work was marked by an emphasis on the concrete, on lived experience. After converting to Catholicism in 1929, he became a noted opponent of atheistic existentialism, and primarily that of Jean-Paul Sartre. Sartre’s characterizations of the isolated self, the death of God, and lived experience as having “no exit” especially disgusted Marcel. Regardless of his point of departure, Marcel throughout his life balked at the designation of his philosophy as, “Theistic existentialism.” He argued that, though theism was consistent with his existentialism, it was not an essential characteristic of it. Marcel’s conception of freedom is the most philosophically enduring of all of his themes, although the last decade has seen a resurgence of attention paid to Marcel’s metaphysics and epistemology. A decidedly unsystematic thinker, it is difficult to categorize Marcel’s work, in large part because the main Marcelian themes are so interconnected. A close read, however, shows that in addition to that of freedom, Marcel’s important philosophical contributions were on the themes of participation, creative fidelity, exigence, and presence. . . . Read the rest here:

Pub: Wilkerson, Dale. "Friedrich Nietzsche." INTERNET ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY (August 2009).

Nietzsche was a German philosopher, essayist, and cultural critic. His writings on truth, morality, language, aesthetics, cultural theory, history, nihilism, power, consciousness, and the meaning of existence have exerted an enormous influence on Western philosophy and intellectual history. Nietzsche spoke of “the death of God,” and foresaw the dissolution of traditional religion and metaphysics. Some interpreters of Nietzsche believe he embraced nihilism, rejected philosophical reasoning, and promoted a literary exploration of the human condition, while not being concerned with gaining truth and knowledge in the traditional sense of those terms. However, other interpreters of Nietzsche say that in attempting to counteract the predicted rise of nihilism, he was engaged in a positive program to reaffirm life, and so he called for a radical, naturalistic rethinking of the nature of human existence, knowledge, and morality. On either interpretation, it is agreed that he suggested a plan for “becoming what one is” through the cultivation of instincts and various cognitive faculties, a plan that requires constant struggle with one’s psychological and intellectual inheritances. Nietzsche claimed the exemplary human being must craft his/her own identity through self-realization and do so without relying on anything transcending that life—such as God or a soul. This way of living should be affirmed even were one to adopt, most problematically, a radical vision of eternity, one suggesting the “eternal recurrence” of all events. According to some commentators, Nietzsche advanced a cosmological theory of “will to power.” But others interpret him as not being overly concerned with working out a general cosmology. Questions regarding the coherence of Nietzsche’s views–questions such as whether these views could all be taken together without contradiction, whether readers should discredit any particular view if proven incoherent or incompatible with others, and the like–continue to draw the attention of contemporary intellectual historians and philosophers. . . . Read the rest here:

Pub: KB JOURNAL 6.1 (2009).


Cfp: "Savage Thoughts: Interdisciplinarity and the Challenge of Claude Lévi-Strauss," McGill University, September 24-26, 2010.

Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas. Claude Lévi-Strauss was one of the great interdisciplinary writers of the twentieth century whose influence has been felt far beyond his home discipline of anthropology. His inquiry illuminated the border lands between primitive and non-primitive, self and other, myth and history, human and animal, art and nature, and the dichotomies that give structure to culture. At the same time his method troubled those borders and dichotomies, through the bricolage he adopted that illuminated connections amongst literature, art, psychology, music, religion, and law. Our call for ‘savage thoughts’ seeks out new work influenced by this inquiry and these methods, and reflections on Levi-Strauss’ legacy across the whole range of the humanities and beyond, including: 1) Recent interdisciplinary research in the reception, critique, and development, of Lévi-Strauss’ work. How have these inquiries been transformed in recent years? Are the children of Lévi-Strauss as savage as he? 2) Consideration of Lévi-Strauss’ larger intellectual influence, explicit or otherwise, right across the humanities. Perhaps there is something savage at the heart of interdisciplinary thought itself—refusing to be tamed by the intellectual borders of a discipline, it forages at will. Where has Lévi-Strauss’ method spawned such wildness and hybridity? 3) Looking beyond the academy to consider how Lévi-Strauss’ ideas have embedded themselves in the culture, values, social organization, and framework of modern society. What is the public life and impact of these ideas? In what ways has our world been altered by his mode of apprehending it? Conference website:

"Afromodernisms 1: Re-Encounters with the French and Anglo-Atlantic Worlds, 1907 to 1961," University of Liverpool, April 15-17, 2010.

Keynote Speakers: Professor David Scott, Columbia University, NY Professor Demetrius Eudell, Wesleyan University, CT In the context provided by Paul Gilroy’s configuration of the black Atlantic as a counterculture to modernity, this symposium is the first in a series seeking to re-examine the Atlantic as a locale for the emergence of modernism. Over the period 2010–12, we hope to consider the centrality of black folk, artists, writers, intellectuals, social scientists, musicians, as core members of the modernist avant-garde, and of “blackness” as a key representative and political category in the work of other modernists. We begin from a formulation of modernism as a heterogenous cluster of responses to locally specific experiences of modernity, rather than as a qualitative set of aesthetic indicators privileging formal innovation over political rhetoric. In doing so, we hope to enable further discussion of a widening spectrum of modernist languages in which the experience of modernity is delineated and inscribed. The symposium addresses the interactions, exchanges, conflicts, and collaborations occurring across the French and Anglo Atlantic, and within experienced and imagined spaces of blackness, in the period 1907–61. We begin therefore with Picasso’s masked Demoiselles, and end with the publication of Fanon’s radical rejection of western colonialism in Les damnés. The aims of the symposium are fourfold: First, it seeks to stage a re-encounter with avant-garde aesthetic, political and social practice in the context of black responses to modernity across the French and Anglo Atlantic. Second, it explores the emergence of new disciplines or schools, and underexplored interdisciplinary relationships in the human sciences that may have effected or at least contributed to the formal innovation or “newness” considered so characteristic of modernism. Third, it takes Perry Anderson’s claim that one of the indispensible co-ordinates for locating modernism is its “proximity to social revolution” and resituates it in the context of an anti-colonial avant-garde operating across the Atlantic in the inter- and postwar years. Fourth, it considers the degree to which a variety of actors operating from what might be termed “alternative” or “displaced” metropoles interacted to produce, in Jameson’s terms, an “active sense” of the history of modernity, one in which a black presence was of key aesthetic, political and cultural importance. Individual papers and proposals, in English, for panels addressing any aspect of the interrelationship between Afromodernism and the French and Anglo-Atlantic worlds are invited from, but not limited to, the disciplines of literature, anthropology, history, art history, philosophy, music, or combinations of these; and concerning regions including but not limited to: Africa, the Caribbean, insular and continental Europe, Canada, the United States, Latin America. Teaching or curating panels and papers are also welcomed. Topics might include: The Harlem Renaissance/New Negro; Performance and/of blackness; Expressionism; fascism; exoticism; the tropics; ethnographic fieldwork narratives/collections; the WPA; négritude; negrophilia; World War 1; configurations of the Black Atlantic; masking; marxism and modernity; World War 2; primitivism; folk and established religious expression; jazz; blues; surrealism; Boasian anthropology; tragedy; Windrush; aesthetic politics; drumming; new histories; revisionist historiography; beauty; comedy; revolution and anticolonialism; myth; reaction; gender and modernity; nationalism; the metropole(s); psychoanalysis; science and relativism; positivism; migration and/or displacement; civilization; degeneration. Contact: Fionnghuala Sweeney (email: or Kate Marsh (email: Deadline for submission: Thursday, 21 January 2010. Conference website:

"Culture and Justice in the Contemporary World," International Society for African Philosophy and Studies, University of Ghana, March 17-19, 2010.

16th Annual Conference. This conference examines the validity of international standards in our multicultural and diverse world. Is justice possible in a world where there are diverse standards, cultures, values and other socio-cultural norms? All over the world, the policies and practices that affect legal interpretation, governance, international peace and security, economic rights, religion, education, health (and all other domains of human activity and interaction) are significantly influenced by how people perceive, interpret and apply their own values, cultures and customs. The questions can therefore be asked: can international and worldwide standards be improved through the interrogation of different cultural points of view? Is justice ever objective, or is it always relative to particular cultures? Can the prevailing notions of rightness and fairness be improved by the input of specific African and Africana cultural perspectives? The 16th Annual ISAPS conference will deliberate the many issues of cultural difference, diversity and convergence that define the human family, under the pressures of today’s rapidly changing world. We welcome theoretical, empirical, comparative and other submissions concerning the effects of culture on justice, fairness and action in any sub-field of the humanities, social sciences, management, and the natural sciences. The 16th annual conference of ISAPS is organised in collaboration with the University of Ghana’s Philosophy Department and its Faculty of Law. We invite papers that explore questions covered by the following sub-themes (and any other relevant issues and concerns): Distributive justice & economic rights Conflict resolution & reconciliation Class, caste, children’s rights and gender Health care rights Geography and imperialism Corporate responsibility Environmental ethics Education for change Pan Africanism, nationalism & liberation Rethinking African history Consensus politics Cyber crime Education and emancipation Human rights & culture Global trade and the world economic order Islam and Sharia law Multiculturalism and justice Science & knowledge Indigenous African politics & juridical systems Information technology in African domains Further information is available here:

Simon Critchley Workshop, Department of Philosophy and Classics, University of Texas, San Antonio, February 22-23, 2010.

Professor Critchley will deliver the keynote address on Monday evening. Confirmed participants include: Anne Marie Bowrey (Baylor) Costica Bradatan (University of Wisconsin-Madison/Texas Tech) Tina Chanter (DePaul) Paul Lewis (University of the Incarnate Word) Anne O'Byrne (SUNY Stonybrook) Davide Panagia (Trent) Philip Quadrio (University of New South Wales/ Macquarie University, Centre for Research on Social Inclusion) Jill Stauffer (Haverford College). The workshop will be free and open to all. For more information, please contact Alistair Welchman ( or visit

Moyar, Dean. Review of Kenneth Westphal, ed. BLACKWELL GUIDE TO HEGEL's PHENOMENOLOGY OF SPIRIT. NDPR (December 2009).

Westphal, Kenneth R. ed. Blackwell Guide to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. Oxford: Blackwell, 2009. It is no small irony that Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, a book that is supposed to serve as a ladder for ordinary consciousness to reach the standpoint of Science, should itself have required scores of commentators to make its rungs intelligible and its ascent even conceivable for generations of readers. The major challenge of commenting on Hegel's work is to stay close enough to the text that the reader feels that he can really read Hegel's text alongside the commentary without having to bypass large stretches, while at the same time actually to interpret (rather than paraphrase) the text so that its philosophical import is evident to today's reader. Forcing everything into one's own interpretive framework can leave the reader disconnected from Hegel's actual words, while just paraphrasing Hegel's text, though reassuring for a beginning reader, does not let one connect Hegel's philosophical project to the wealth of philosophical debates to which it is relevant. The outstanding single-author commentaries on the Phenomenology in English in the past twenty years (chief among them being Terry Pinkard's Hegel's Phenomenology, H.S. Harris' Hegel's Ladder, and Jon Stewart's The Unity of Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit), managed this challenge in different ways, producing works with distinctive priorities that have together opened up the Phenomenology to a generation of students. The Blackwell Guide to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, edited by Kenneth Westphal, is billed as a "collective commentary". Such a collective approach can illuminate the work through multiple perspectives and by drawing on the particular strengths of the commentators, each of whom can write on that stretch of text that he/she know best. However, the collective approach also runs the risk of producing a number of isolated contributions that leaves the reader in the dark about the interconnections of systematic unity of the whole. The relative strengths and weaknesses of such a commentary largely stem from how "collective" it really is -- whether there has been a truly collaborative effort, including some agreement on a rough interpretive framework, mutual commenting on each other's contributions, etc. Westphal's volume is "collective" in a rather minimal sense. There does not appear to have been any joint work in conceiving of the specific or general interpretive approach in the essays. (I should mention here that the volume of essays on the Phenomenology edited by myself and Michael Quante, though also a "guide" to the text and thus something of a competitor to the present book, was conceived neither as collective nor as commentary.) Westphal writes in his Introduction that the book "develops a significant consensus about the integrity of Hegel's text and issues. This point is examined expressly in chapters 1, 12, and 13, while chapters 10 and 11 say much about it too" (xvii). The "integrity" at issue concerns whether all the diverse parts of the Phenomenology hang together, or whether it is really two projects hurriedly and clumsily melded into one. While it is true that the authors in this work seem to agree that Hegel was in control of his text and are sympathetic to the overall project, it is not clear to this reader what "significant consensus" is developed. There have not been many recent defenders of the view that Hegel's text lacks integrity, so the mere fact that these authors assume such an integrity is not terribly significant. The discussions of the basic method and goals in the chapters do not complement each other, but rather lead the reader to various different (and necessarily incomplete) views of Hegel's goals and method. This is not to say that each of the essays dos not stand on its own. This is a very impressive collection of essays by some of the most acute readers working on Hegel today. Yet as a commentary, the whole is less than the sum of its parts. Each contribution is well worth reading, both for the new and seasoned reader of the Phenomenology, yet one is left without a clear grip on Hegel's main philosophical innovations and without a reliable way to translate Hegel's prose into a more philosophically fungible idiom. . . . Read the whole review here:

Evaluation, Judgement and Critique, Theory and Philosophy Summer School, School of Sociology and Philosophy, University College Cork, May 3-8, 2010.

The Annual Theory and Philosophy Summer School is an interdisciplinary residential course for postgraduate students in the arts, humanities and social sciences. To optimize students’ learning experience at TAPSS the number of participants is limited to 30. Postgraduate work in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences has, at its core, problems of evaluation, judgement and critique. We are expected to ‘evaluate’ such things as a text, a report, or an artifact; to ‘critique’ such things as a position, an institution, or an argument; and to make a ‘judgement’ on such things as a practice, a belief, or a form of life. ‘Evaluation’, ‘Judgement’ and ‘Critique’ clarify and illuminate principles and alternative courses of action, help to weigh the truth or falsity of a belief or idea, to act justly, and to justify actions. But what does it mean to ‘judge’, to ‘evaluate’, or to ‘critique’? On what bases, on whose authority, and with what justification do we do these things? Faced with the different contexts of relativism, multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism, and postmodernism, is this level of competency blocked or even counter-productive? Might the practices of judging, evaluating and critiquing encourage the appropriate responses to local and global crises, or might they instead deepen our growing problems? Credits: 5 or 10 ECTS credits; 3 or 6 American credits Fees: 500 Euro (includes course fees, accommodation, half-board and the final dinner) Applications will be considered immediately; closing date: March 1, 2010.

Inquiries to:

Applications to:

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cfp: 6th Annual Joint Conference, Society for European Philosophy and Forum for European Philosophy, July 6-10, 2010.

To be held at Loyola University Chicago, John Felice Rome Center. Coordinator: Stefano Giacchetti Ludovisi, Loyola University Chicago Coordinator for the USA: Andrew Cutrofello, Loyola University Chicago Keynote Speakers: Deborah Cook, University of Windsor, Andrew Feenberg, Simon Fraser University, Alessandro Ferrara, University of Rome, Tor Vergata David Ingram, Loyola University Chicago Stefano Petrucciani, University of Rome, La Sapienza David Schweickart, Loyola University Chicago Francesco Saverio Trincia, University of Rome, La Sapienza Confirmed Speakers: Steven Barbone, San Diego State University; Andrew Benjamin, Monash University Melbourne; Adam Berg, Otis College, Los Angeles; Clive Cazeaux, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff; Paul Davies, University of Sussex; Peter Dews, University of Essex; Idit Dobbs-Weinstein, Vanderbilt University; Anne-Marie Feenberg-Dibon, Simon Fraser University; James Gordon Finlayson, University of Sussex; Fabian Freyenhagen, University of Essex; Samir Gandesha, Simon Fraser University; Simon Glendinning, London School of Economics; Andy Hamilton, Durham University; Johan Frederik Hartle, University of Amsterdam; Jennifer Holt, Vanderbilt University; Anders Johansson, University of Gothenburg; Célia Linhares, University Federal Fluminense; Maurizio Meloni, University of Nottingham; Hugh Miller, Loyola University Chicago; Alastair Morgan, University of Nottingham; John Mullarkey, University of Dundee; Johanna Oksala, University of Dundee; Peter Osborne, Middlesex University; Laureen Park, New York City College of Technology; Ken Parsons, Avila University; Leena Petersen, Sussex University; Henry W. Pickford; University of Colorado, Boulder; Lars Rensmann, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; David Schauffler, University of Silesia, Poland; A. D. Smith, University of Warwick; Ruth Sonderegger, Akademie der bildenden Künste, Wien; Karin Stoegner, Central European University, Budapest; Simon Susen, Newcastle University; Italo Testa, University of Parma; Margherita Tonon, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven; Fotini Vaki, Ionian University Corfu; Paolo Vinci, University of Rome, La Sapienza; Carol L. Yang, National Chengchi University; Rocío Zambrana, New School for Social Research. Anyone interested in presenting a paper should submit a 1-2 page abstract to Prof. Stefano Giacchetti Ludovisi at; Tel: (+39) 06-81905467; The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2010. Please include your name, institutional affiliation, and mailing address. Decisions regarding the program will be made by May 31, 2010. In addition to proposals for individual papers, proposals for themed panels of (up to) five speakers on any area of European Philosophy are also invited. If you would like to organize a themed panel, please contact Prof. Andrew Cutrofello at Deadline Summary: Paper abstracts by April 30, 2010 to Panel proposals by April 30, 2010 to Graduate papers in full by June 1, 2010 to

Cfp: "Continental Philosophy in the Desert," Southwest Seminar in Continental Philosophy, University of New Mexico, May 28-29, 2010.

Keynote Speakers: Steven Crowell (Rice University) and Claire Katz (Texas A&M) If you are interested in participating, please send a completed paper (or work in progress) of not more than 4000 words. (We will schedule hour long sessions for participants; so presentations should not be longer than 35-40 minutes, in order to leave time for discussion.) Please send papers (ready for blind review, with name on a separate title page) to Iain Thomson ( by March 1st, 2010.


In Examined Life, filmmaker Astra Taylor accompanies some of today’s most influential thinkers on a series of unique excursions through places and spaces that hold particular resonance for them and their ideas. Peter Singer’s thoughts on the ethics of consumption are amplified against the backdrop of Fifth Avenue’s posh boutiques. Slavoj Zizek questions current beliefs about the environment while sifting through a garbage dump. Michael Hardt ponders the nature of revolution while surrounded by symbols of wealth and leisure. Judith Butler and a friend stroll through San Francisco’s Mission District questioning our culture’s fixation on individualism. And while driving through Manhattan, Cornel West—perhaps America’s best-known public intellectual—compares philosophy to jazz and blues, reminding us how intense and invigorating a life of the mind can be. Offering privileged moments with great thinkers from fields ranging from moral philosophy to cultural theory, Examined Life reveals philosophy’s power to transform the way we see the world around us and imagine our place in it.Featuring Cornel West, Avital Ronell, Peter Singer, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Martha Nussbaum, Michael Hardt, Slavoj Zizek, Judith Butler and Sunaura Taylor. For further information, visit:

Cfp: "Affect," Annual Conference, Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy, University of Queensland, December 3-5, 2010.

The question of affect is at the heart of philosophy, a question at the nexus of ethics, aesthetics, the ontology of the real, the nature of knowledge, the phenomena of experience, the composition and function of the mind, and the structures of living. The conference calls for papers on the theme of the philosophy of affect, as well as general papers. Plenary Speakers: Luis Costa Lima, Anne Vila, Antonio Calcagno. Specialist Stream: Sensibilité: The Knowing Body in the Enlightenment Suggested Streams: Art and its Affects Philosophy and the Sexed/Gendered Body Deleuze’s Philosophy of Affect Affect: Literature: Emotion Embodied Imagination Philosophies of Hope The Affect of the Other Merleau-Ponty: The Phenomenology of Affect Libidinal Affects Affect in Politics Mimesis and Embodiment Psychoanalytic Affect: Freud, Klein, Lacan Conference Convenors: Dr. Marguerite La Caze Dr. Michelle Boulous Walker Mr. Martyn Lloyd Mr. Chad Parkhill If you would like to submit an abstract, or if you have any queries about the Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy Annual Conference 2010, please contact the convenors at Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words. Please include a short biography (100 words) including institutional affiliation. For early confirmation, please send your abstract by March 31st, 2010.

Web Links:
Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy:
School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics @ UQ:
Centre for the History of European Discourses @ UQ:
University of Queensland (UQ):


  • "Hegel, Mind, and Mechanism: Why Machines Have No Psyche, Consciousness, or Intelligence" by Richard Dien Winfield
  • "The Spirit as the Subject Carrying out the Sublation of Nature" by Gilles Marmasse
  • "Transforming Representations into Thoughts and Thoughts into Concepts" by John W. Burbidge
  • "Feminism and Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit: ‘Lordship and Bondage’ and ‘Ethical Action’" by J. M. Fritzman and Jeffrey A. Gauthier
  • "Kierkegaard contra Hegel on the ‘Absolute Paradox’" by Genia Schönbaumsfeld
  • "Beauty, Aesthetic Experience and Immanent Critique" by Julia Peters
  • William Bristow. Hegel and the Transformation of Philosophical Critique by Dennis Schulting
  • Theodor George. Tragedies of Spirit ? Tracing Finitude in Hegel’s Phenomenology and Glenn Alexander Magee. Hegel and the Hermetic Tradition by Tom Bunyard
  • Douglas Moggach, ed. The New Hegelians: Politics and Philosophy in the Hegelian School by Sebastian Stein Sonsgsuk
  • Susan Hahn, Contradiction in Motion: Hegel’s Concept of Life and Value by Rocío Zambrana

Cfp: "Film-Philosophy III," Third Annual Conference of the FILM-PHILOSOPHY journal, University of Warwick, July 15-17, 2010.

We welcome proposals for 30 minute papers that explore any aspect of the relationships between film, film studies and philosophy. Proposals should be sent to by 28 February 2010. Conference registration will open in mid-January 2010. Details of the on-campus accommodation, conference dinner and registration fee will be provided in mid-January. Visit the website here:

Osteric, Lara. Review of Robert Clewis, THE KANTIAN SUBLIME AND THE REVELATION OF FREEDOM. NDPR (December 2009).

Clewis, Robert R. The Kantian Sublime and the Revelation of Freedom. Cambridge: CUP, 2009. Clewis's book The Kantian Sublime and the Revelation of Freedom presents a new challenge for those who criticize Kant's moral theory for its "rigor" and its insufficient recognition of the relevance of sensibility and emotions in human moral life. While being, as he himself admits, less interested in the logical features of the judgment of the sublime, Clewis examines how the feeling of the sublime and aesthetic enthusiasm share phenomenological and structural affinities with the moral feeling of respect, and thus prepare us for the exercise of our moral agency. Clewis also reconsiders the widely accepted typology of the Kantian sublime, its standard division into the "mathematical" and "dynamical" sublime, and suggests that there is a third type of the sublime, namely, the "moral sublime". By the moral sublime Clewis understands the effect on consciousness that the realization of the moral law has when observed aesthetically. On Clewis's view, "aesthetic enthusiasm" is a subset of the moral sublime elicited by an empirical event that serves as a sign of a moral tendency of humanity. Clewis argues that aesthetic enthusiasm may help us understand better how Kant's discussion of the sublime contributes to the central concern of the third Critique, that is, the so-called transition problem from freedom to nature. Thus, Clewis's book attempts to show that for Kant the sublime does not only make us aware of our purposiveness as autonomous moral agents (i.e., our moral vocation), but also, just like aesthetic and teleological judgments, of nature's purposiveness. Thus, I take it that Clewis's book attempts to convince us that the sublime does not remain "a mere appendix" to Kant's systematic interests in the third Critique as some commentators have argued. . . . Read the whole review here:

New Blog: RAIL: Reasoning, Argumentation and Informal Logic.

This is a blog for scholars engaged in the study of reasoning, argumentation theory, informal logic, rhetoric, and critical thinking. It is intended to be as inclusive and interdisciplinary as is the field of argumentation theory itself. . . . Visit the blog here:

Cfp: "Religion and Enlightenment: the Young-Hegelian Perspective," Centre for Philosophy of Culture, University of Antwerp, May 12, 2010.

The conflict between religion and enlightenment has never been more tangible than today. It returns time and again as a topic in the media,and is subject of countless debates on the intellectual scenery.Unfortunately, these discussions often tend to oversimplify the nature of this conflict by simply treating religion and enlightenment as mutually exclusive opposites. Matters, however, are far more complicated than this clear-cut distinction suggests. The enlightenment’s attitude vis-à-vis religion is by no means a straightforward anti-religious one. By the same token, religion may not be characterized as being principally irreconcilable with enlightenment. This conference returns to the way in which this complex relation is explored in the twilight of the age of Enlightenment. More specifically, it wants to pay attention to the way religion is seen by the immediate heirs of German Idealism, by focusing on the Young-Hegelian movement. The German Idealist view of religion is a unique and original one. It no longer sees religion exclusively as a body of semi-theoretical convictions that compete with the modern scientific worldview, but rather as a meaningful part of human culture and one of the important shapes of man’s attempt to understand himself and the world. In this way, German Idealism has tried for the very first time to determine the specific place and meaning of religion in human existence, human culture and history of humanity at large. Only against the background of this view the specificity of the attitude of Young-Hegelianism towards religion can come to the fore. To be sure the attitude towards religion of the members of this movement is a highly critical one. But at the same time the legacy of German Idealism is clearly present in their writings, shaping their views of the significance of religion in culture and history. This inheritance will be the focus of the present conference. Contact and information: Jeff Spiessens, University of Antwerp – City Campus, Dep. of Philosophy,Prinsstraat 13, B-2000 Antwerpen, Belgium

Malins, Peta. Review of Simon O'Sullivan and Stephen Zepke, eds. DELEUZE, GUATTARI, AND THE PRODUCTION OF THE NEW. NDPR (December 2009).

O'Sullivan, Simon, and Stephen Zepke, eds. Deleuze, Guattari and the Production of the New. London: Continuum, 2008. The recent proliferation of books and anthologies focusing on the work of Deleuze and Guattari has been a cause for both celebration and concern. There is something unsettling about a growing commercial interest in the field: a sense that a kind of Deleuzo-Guattarian industry might be emerging, with publishers and authors churning out increasingly short-hand, commodified interpretations of their thought. Yet there is also something inescapably exciting about it all too: a sense of anticipation and delight at both the rhizomatic spread in and of itself, as well as a the possibilities that each new encounter might open up for rethinking -- and re-doing -- the contemporary world. It was with this latter optimism that I approached Simon O'Sullivan and Stephen Zepke's Deleuze, Guattari and the Production of the New. Fortunately, O'Sullivan and Zepke's collection not only explores the importance of the 'new' to our future ethico-political health, but attests to it in its very being. Rather than re-hashing familiar Deleuze and Guattari territory, or simply capitalizing on the quirkiness of their unfamiliar concepts, this collection offers innovative in-depth encounters between these philosophers and an array of political and artistic assemblages and problematics. In doing so it necessarily shifts the ways in which we can think about Deleuze and Guattari's concepts and the various fields to which they have been connected. The collection thus acts, at least to some extent, like a lever with which we might, as Massumi suggests, begin to pry open a gap in the 'World As We Know It'. The main aim of the anthology is to explore -- and put to work -- the concept of the new as it emerges from the work of Deleuze and Guattari, particularly their jointly authored Capitalism and Schizophrenia texts and Guattari's relatively under-utilized individual works. This is a daunting task, given the central role that the production of the new plays within their philosophy: as the generative force of differentiation that drives life itself in its battle against stagnation, habit and paralysis. The editors do well, therefore, to narrow the field by outlining a range of subsidiary aims, or problematics, to which the collection is addressed. These include: the role of art and aesthetics in the production of new modes of thought and being; the capacity for repetition to become aligned with difference, rather than with recognition and representation; the problem of the new in relation to contemporary capitalism, given the extent to which creativity and innovation are being increasingly co-opted by mass marketing rhetoric and practice; and the role of the new in contemporary forms of resistance. The anthology comprises 18 specifically commissioned essays, which each take up and extend at least one of these themes. These are preceded by a thoughtful and accessible editorial introduction, and followed, at the end of the collection, with a newly translated extract from Guattari's Cartographies Schizoanalytiques, which is itself accompanied by a short translator's introduction. Of the commissioned essays, some focus on a particular philosophical or political problematic relating to the new in Deleuze and Guattari's work, drawing out dynamic concepts of difference and repetition, time, the future, ethics, the virtual, experimentation, resistance, desire and creativity. Others focus on connecting the concept of the new to particular artistic and aesthetic sites. From science fiction to jazz, contemporary art to industrial music, cinema to cultural icons, these more grounded essays bring to life Deleuze and Guattari's concepts, putting them to work in familiar, and not so familiar, domains. . . . Read the rest here:

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Horstmann, Rolf-Peter. Review of Friedrich Nietzsche, WRITINGS FROM THE EARLY NOTEBOOKS. NDPR (December 2009).

Nietzsche, Friedrich. Writings from the Early Notebooks. Ed. Raymond Geuss and Alexander Nehamas. Trans. Ladislaus Löb. Cambridge: CUP, 2009.

As the title of the volume suggests, the texts it contains are a selection. They come from the vast amount of notes -- almost half of the historical critical edition of his works is filled with them -- that Nietzsche wrote down throughout his life in many notebooks. Some of these notes are just a couple of words whereas others are of considerable length, sometimes filling several pages. They contain remarks and reflections on topics that aroused his intellectual curiosity, covering just about every conceivable field of human life ranging from contemporary politics and cultural history to art and aesthetic phenomena and above all to almost all domains of philosophy both theoretical and practical. The roughly 240 pages of notes in the volume are from the period between 1869 and 1879. That they represent a very exclusive selection is documented by the fact that the notes from this period in the historical critical edition cover around 1400 pages. This raises a question about the principles and the criteria of selection. Unfortunately, neither the editors nor the translator explicitly address this question. However, I have the impression that the guiding thread for the selection was the general relevance of the material selected for what Alexander Nehamas in his introduction tells us about Nietzsche's preoccupations and main interests during that period. This impression is not just based on the notes chosen. It also suggests itself indirectly because of the inclusion of three texts discussed quite thoroughly in the introduction, two of which are normally not considered to be notes but fall under the rubric of unpublished writings (On the Pathos of Truth and On Truth and Lie in an Extra-Moral Sense), while the third (On Schopenhauer) is from an earlier period. However that may be, the resulting collection is very convincing and informative. . . .

Read the whole review here:

Pub: Posthumous Fragments of Nietzsche Online.

Nietzsche Source is delighted to announce the publication of the complete posthumous fragments of Nietzsche in the Digital critical edition, based on the critical text established by Colli/Montinari and including recent philological corrections. Furthermore, 20 new notebooks have been added to the Digital facsimile edition of the Nietzsche estate, bringing the total to almost 10,000 published manuscript pages. Both editions have stable URLs allowing each fragment or manuscript page to be cited individually. For the generous support we would like to thank the European Commission, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, the Maison Française d'Oxford, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Humboldt Foundation, the LMU Munich, and the Foundation of Weimar Classics (see all institutions and sponsors). Nietzsche Source is a web site devoted to the publication of scholarly content on the work and life of Friedrich Nietzsche. It is not subscription-based and can be freely consulted and used for scholarly purposes.

Audio: Tzvetan Todorov on START OF THE WEEK.

Tzvetan Todorov took part in the BBC programme Start of the Week with Andrew Marr on December 8.

The programme is available temporarily on BBC iPlayer at the following URL:

Pub: HISTORY AND THEORY 48 (2009).

The October 2009 issue of History and Theory has recently been published. In it Andrew Curran, in “Rethinking Race History: The Role of the Albino in the French Enlightenment Life Sciences,” discerningly explores the way the concept of “race” evolved in the eighteenth century and beyond by exploring a category that called into question standard racial categories: the albino or the nègre blanc—quite literally a “white negro.” Curran’s essay deepens our understanding not only of a key concept in history-writing, but also of the way concepts change over time. Also in the issue, Branko Mitrovi?’s “Intentionalism, Intentionality, and Reporting Beliefs” provides an analytically rigorous exploration of the question: when historians report the beliefs of historical figures, do they report the sentences (which are obviously language-dependent) or the propositions (which are language-independent thought-contents) that these historical figures believed to be true or false? (Mitrovi? claims it is the latter.) This topic might seem somewhat far from the practice of history until one realizes that virtually all histories ascribe beliefs to agents in the past, and that what is involved in such ascription is absolutely central to the entire historical enterprise. The issue also contains an especially illuminating Forum that examines Saul Friedländer’s recent Nazi Germany and the Jews: The Years of Extermination. This book offers a brilliant new literary mode for the historical representation of extreme events such as the Holocaust. The forum explores the nature and significance of this new mode in three essays: Alon Confino, “Narrative Form and Historical Sensation: On Saul Friedländer’s The Years of Extermination;” Amos Goldberg, “The Victim’s Voice and Melodramatic Aesthetics in History;” and Christopher R. Browning, “Evocation, Analysis, and the ‘Crisis of Liberalism.’” The result is an exceptionally rich examination of a work that is already a classic of modern history, and a perceptive drawing out of the implications of this work for future historians not only of the Holocaust and other traumatic events, but for history more generally. The issue also includes these review essays: Mary R. Lefkowitz, “A Herodotus for Our Time,” a review of Robert Strassler, ed., The Landmark Herodotus: The Histories John E. Toews, “Manifesting, Producing, and Mobilizing Historical Consciousness in the ‘Postmodern Condition’,” a review of Keith Jenkins, Sue Morgan, and Alun Munslow, eds., Manifestos for History Javed Majeed, “British Colonialism in India as a Pedagogical Enterprise,” a review of Sanjay Seth, Subject Lessons: The Western Education of Colonial India, and Michael S. Dodson, Orientalism, Empire, and National Culture: India 1770–1880 Mark S. Cladis, “The Discovery and Recovery of Time in History and Religion,” a review of William Gallois, Time, Religion and History. Click here to read abstracts of the articles in this issue: To download a free copy of Alon Confino, “Narrative Form and Historical Sensation: On Saul Friedländer’s The Years of Extermination,” please click here:

Friday, November 27, 2009


Editorial Authors: Johan Siebers Page Start: 5 View Header/Abstract View PDF Beyond Bergson: the ontology of togetherness Authors: Elena Fell Page Start: 9 View Header/Abstract View PDF Communication between friends Authors: Dan O'Brien Page Start: 27 View Header/Abstract View PDF Communication or Confrontation – Heidegger and Philosophical Method Authors: Vincent Blok Page Start: 43 View Header/Abstract View PDF Self-observation, self-reference and operational coupling in social systems: steps towards a coherent epistemology of mass media Authors: Juan Miguel Aguado Page Start: 59 View Header/Abstract View PDF Content and sense Authors: Lydia Sánchez And Manuel Campos Page Start: 75 View Header/Abstract View PDF The public's right to know in liberal-democratic thought vs. The people's ‘obligation to know’ in Hebrew law Authors: Tsuriel Rashi Page Start: 91 View Header/Abstract View PDF The Soul of the Golem Authors: Daniel H. Cabrera Page Start: 107 View Header/Abstract View PDF Radical Interpretation, the primacy of communication, and the bounds of language Authors: Eli Dresner Page Start: 123 View Header/Abstract View PDF Reviews Authors: Laura Green And Mark Olssen And Nick Turnbull Page Start: 135 View Header/Abstract View PDF Further information is here:,id=1755/.

Romano, Carlin. "We Need 'Philosophy of Journalism.'" CHRONICLE November 15, 2009.

If you examine philosophy-department offerings around America, you'll find staple courses in "Philosophy of Law," "Philosophy of Art," "Philosophy of Science," "Philosophy of Religion," and a fair number of other areas that make up our world. It makes sense. Philosophy, as the intellectual enterprise that in its noblest form inspects all areas of life and questions each practice's fundamental concepts and presumptions, should regularly look at all human activities broad and persistent enough not to be aberrations or idiosyncrasies. (The latter can be reserved for Independent Studies.) Why, then, don't you find "Philosophy of Journalism" among those staple courses? Why does philosophy, the academic discipline charged to reflect the noblest intellectual enterprise, avoid the subject while departments teem with abstruse courses mainly of interest to the tenured professors who teach them? Read the rest here:

Audio: "Rethinking Secularism: Jürgen Habermas and Charles Taylor in Conversation," November 20, 2009.

This is audio and a transcript of the October 22 discussion between Jürgen Habermas and Charles Taylor, moderated by Craig Calhoun, in which the two leading philosophers discuss the place of religion in the public sphere and whether there are differences in kind between religious and secular reasons. Visit: Listen to the paper presentations that preceded this discussion here: Add your own voice to the discussion here

"Another World is Necessary: Crisis, Struggle and Political Alternatives," University of London, SOAS and Birbeck, November 27-29, 2009.



Cfp: "Truth Matters," Institute for Christian Studies, Toronto, August 18-20, 2010.

We live in an age of skepticism about the idea of truth. Contemporary skeptics question the nature and value of truth and the concomitant virtue of truthfulness. Skepticism about truth is not restricted to popular culture. It occurs within the academic world, where deflationists have argued that the idea of truth is not a substantive notion and some poststructuralists have portrayed it as primarily the scene of struggles for power. Such skepticism is surprising, for truth and truthfulness have been central to Western civilization and the academic enterprise. Historically, the idea of truth has helped organize Western intellectual culture since ancient times. It is a central theme in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the three monotheistic religions that have shaped Western society. Conceptually, the idea of truth sets a stage for fundamental debates about the point and worth of academic work: debates between realists and anti-realists in philosophy, theology, and the natural sciences, for example, or between relativists and anti-relativists in the humanities and social sciences. Societally, the idea of truth provides a normative background for ethics, law, and public discourse: we expect friends and colleagues to be truthful; we ask witnesses in courts of law to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth"; and we get upset when journalists deliberately fabricate their reports. Given both contemporary skepticism and the centrality of truth, we believe it is time to reconceptualize truth and to reclaim truthfulness for the academic enterprise. The conference organizers have undertaken an interdisciplinary philosophical effort to develop a new model of truth. Now we wish to expand the scope of our work by engaging with discussion partners from other schools and from across the disciplines. The Truth Matters conference will be an occasion for international dialogue and debate. Relevant topics for papers and proposals include: • artistic and narrative truth • power, truth, and ideology • realism, anti-realism, and truth • relativism, anti-relativism, and truth • religious truth • teaching and learning for truth • truth in ethics • truthfulness in public life We invite submissions in English of 700-word proposals or papers not exceeding 3500 words. Interdisciplinary approaches are welcome, and submissions by graduate students are encouraged. There will be up to two merit-based graduate essay awards of $250 Canadian. All submissions must be formatted for blind review. On a separate cover sheet give your name, contact information, and 2-4 key words. Please identify yourself as a graduate student if you wish to be considered for an award. Send your submission via e-mail to Submission deadline: March 1, 2010. Truth Matters continues a series of conferences on issues of faith and scholarship organized by four schools in the Reformed tradition. It is hosted by the Institute for Christian Studies, a graduate school for interdisciplinary philosophy in Toronto, and co-sponsored by Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI), Dordt College (Sioux Center, IA), and the Free University (Amsterdam). For more information, visit

Monday, November 23, 2009

"Divining the Message / Mediating the Divine," Graduate Students' Conference, Department of Religion, University of Columbia, April 2-3, 2010.

Update: The keynote speakers will be Bernard Stiegler, Samuel Weber, Mark C. Taylor, and Brian Larkin. Original Post (October 17, 2009): Whether sacred symbols or sanctioned authorities, intermediaries have been both conduits for and barriers to access to the divine. Mediating objects, forms, rituals, and people have long been central to religious practice and belief. They are conditions of both possibility and impossibility, at one and the same time providing glimpses of the heavens and anchoring us to the earth. Institutions such as the Catholic Church and the Imamate have at times dictated the ways in which humans commune with the divine. In other places and at other times, charismatic leaders or apprenticed specialists have mediated more directly. Some of these leaders prophetically mediate between a culture's past and its future, and in the example of the archive, between its past and its present sovereignty. At other times, previously religious spheres have undergone near total reinscription, leaving passive forces like evolution and the invisible hand of the economy to dictate what was previously the realm of a more intentional being. The institutions mediating faith in markets and divine faith have changed radically, leaving us to wonder what may persist through their reinscription. New media technologies have transformed not only how people commune with one another, but also how they communicate with the divine. With the printing press and telephone wires, and with television and the internet, we can now consider whether our message to the divine is best delivered by letter, email, voicemail, or text message. While many still attend brick and mortar churches, build a sukkah in their backyard, or chant at a Shinto shrine, the current moment of technological acceleration has changed the ways in which many people practice religion. Some study Buddhism in the virtual gaming world of Second Life, others visit a satellite campus of Saddleback Church to see Rick Warren's Sunday sermon streamed in from the other side of Orange County, and still others sit on the beach while reading the New International Version of the Bible on their Amazon Kindles. As intermediaries proliferate, and as our relationship to old mediations changes, so do the ways in which we practice religion, imagine the divine, and imagine ourselves. The 2010 Columbia University Religion Graduate Students' Conference seeks to bring together papers from a wide range of disciplinary, theoretical, historical, and geographical perspectives that examine varying conceptions of mediation, including: 1. The media of mediation (print, TV, internet, cinema, icons, translation, etc.) 2. The institutions of mediation (Church, state, theology, tradition, economy, culture) 3. The people who mediate (the Pope, gurus, pastors, priests, séance mediums, other spiritual leaders, and the spirit possessed) 4. Temporal mediations (prophecy, mourning, melancholy, and trauma, as mediating the past, present, and future) Presenters from the social sciences and humanities are equally welcome. We also invite visual art proposals exploring the conference's theme to be displayed in the gallery adjoining the panel rooms for the duration of the conference. Please submit an abstract (prepared for blind review) of no more than 300 words to by December 1, 2009. Final papers should be 9-12 double-spaced pages in length (presenters will have approximately 20 minutes to speak). Panel submissions are also welcome; for panels of 3 or 4 presenters, please include an abstract of 250 words detailing the common concerns tying the individual presentations together, in addition to the individual paper abstracts.

Dell Hymes (1927 - 2009).

Dell Hathaway Hymes (June 7, 1927, Portland, Oregon - November 13, 2009, Charlottesville, Virginia) was a sociolinguist, anthropologist, and folklorist whose work dealt primarily with languages of the Pacific Northwest. He was one of the first to call the fourth subfield of anthropology "linguistic anthropology" instead of "anthropological linguistics." The terminological shift draws attention to the field's grounding in anthropology rather than in what by that time was already become an autonomous discipline (linguistics). Further information on his life and career may be found here: His Faculty Page at the University of Virginia may be found here:

Cfp: "Video Game Cultures and the Future of Interactive Entertainment," Mansfield College, University of Oxford, July 7-9, 2010.

This inter- and multi-disciplinary conference aims to examine, explore and critically engage with the issues and implications created by the mass use of computers and videogames for entertainment and focus on the impact of innovative videogame titles and interfaces for human communication and ludic culture. In particular the conference will encourage equally theoretical and practical debates which surround the cultural contexts within which videogames flourish. Papers, presentations, workshops and reports are invited on any of the following themes: 1. Videogames and Gaming: Theories and Concepts of Gaming. Identifying Key Features and Issues. Critical Theory for Videogames: Moving past the Narratology/Ludology Debate. 2. Videogame Cultures: Emerging Practices in Online and Offline Gaming. Social Dimension of Online Gaming and Presence in Virtual Worlds. Videogame Modifications. 3. Ethical Issues in Videogames: Videogames for children. Depiction of Violence, Sex, Morality and their relation to Maturity. Propaganda Games. Censorship. 4. Videogame Technologies and the Future of Interactive Entertainment: New Forms of Interaction, Immersion and Collaboration in Videogames. The Role of Innovative Interfaces. 4. Reception, Temporality and Video Games: Player Generations. Old Originals vs. Retro games. Indie Games and Low-Tech Aesthetic. 5. The Relations between Cinema and Videogames: Crossmedia and Transmedia Approach to Videogames. Cutscene Production. Machinimation. Interactive Storytelling. 6. Art and Experimental Games: The Aesthetic Aspects of Videogames. Performative Use of Videogames. Art-Mods. 7. Serious Games and Virtual Worlds: Social Impact Simulations. Educational Use of Videogames. Documentary Videogames. Political Issues. The Steering Group welcomes the submission of pre-formed panel proposals. 300 word abstracts should be submitted by Friday 15th January 2010. If an abstract is accepted for the conference, a full draft paper should be submitted by Friday 28th May 2010. 300 word abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to both Organising Chairs; abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats with the following information and in this order: a) author(s), b) affiliation, c) email address, d) title of abstract, e) body of abstract. Please use plain text (Times Roman 12) and abstain from using footnotes and any special formatting, characters or emphasis (such as bold, italics or underline). We acknowledge receipt and answer to all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week you should assume we did not receive your proposal; it might be lost in cyberspace! We suggest, then, to look for an alternative electronic route or resend. Joint Organising Chairs: Daniel Riha Charles University Prague, Czech Republic E-mail: Rob Fisher Network Founder and Network Leader Inter-Disciplinary.Net Priory House, Freeland, Oxfordshire OX29 8HR United Kingdom E-mail: For further details about the conference please visit:

Cfp: "Realisms in Contemporary Culture: Theories, Politics and Medial Configurations," FRIAS, Freiburg University, September 23-25, 2010.

In the context of structuralist and poststructuralist theory, realism, with its implication of a transparent representation of reality, was deemed at best out-moded and at worst ideologically insidious. Recent years, however, have seen a revival of the term in analyses of contemporary developments in literature and film, at times even as a yardstick for measuring the quality of individual works. A closer look shows that in critical debates widely differing concepts of realism are used, often connected with explicit or implicit ideological positions. The question of what may be understood by realism is thus still very much open to debate and, what is more, highly charged.

The aim of this conference is, firstly, to chart the territory of the usages of the term ‘realism’ in contemporary theory. Secondly, we want to discuss the validity and usefulness of the ‘realisms’ posited for describing and analyzing trends in contemporary literature and film. How does the debate on realism tie in with the ongoing controversies regarding the connections between ethics or politics and form? In what ways do ‘realist’ contemporary works relate to socio-cultural developments? In order to foster an interdisciplinary discussion, we invite papers from a range of different disciplines (e.g. literary studies, media and digital studies, art history) on topics such as Concepts of realism in contemporary critical debate Formal realism and reception aesthetics Medial developments and realism Transmedial comparison of the ‘reality effect’ Case studies of realism in contemporary culture Ethics / Politics and realism … Contributors are strongly encouraged to make explicit their own usage of ‘realism’ by reflecting on the question of what they see as realism and how they would distinguish it from other modes of representation. Application Please send your one-page abstract for a 30-minute presentation to Submission deadline is 31st January 2010. Organizing Institution The Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) is the University of Freiburg’s international research college. It was established after Freiburg’s success in the Federal Excellence Initiative in October 2007. As a centre-piece of the Albert-Ludwigs-University’s institutional strategy, FRIAS pursues three main objectives: to promote top level research, to develop new interdisciplinary areas of competence and knowledge, and to foster the advancement of outstanding junior scholars. Contact For further information, please contact Dr. Stella Butter ( or Dr. Dorothee Birke (

Furtak, Rick Anthony. Review of C. Stephen Evans, KIERKEGAARD. NDPR (November 2009).

Evans, C. Stephen. Kierkegaard: an Introduction. Cambridge: CUP, 2009. C. Stephen Evans has been established for decades as one of the most highly respected scholars of Kierkegaard's writings, and his newest book offers a concise introduction to Kierkegaard's thought, with particular attention to its significance for philosophy. Early on, he concedes that "there are many themes in Kierkegaard as well as whole works that this book barely touches on or omits entirely" (xi). This is inevitable for any one-volume work, of course. The task of a reviewer, accordingly, must be to comment on what Evans does an especially good job of illuminating, and also to say a few things about what else might be highlighted for the philosophical reader of Kierkegaard, beyond the themes and texts that are emphasized by Evans. To begin with, he is entirely right to point out that Kierkegaard's interpretation of human existence, although it involves decidedly religious categories, is not relevant only for readers who are already inclined toward religion (16). As George Pattison has noted in another recent book on Kierkegaard as philosopher, judicious readers ought neither to accept nor to reject his ideas solely by virtue of their affiliation with Christianity. We should first try to decide independently whether or not Kierkegaard's writings offer "a persuasive or adequate depiction of the human condition." One reason for doing this is that we cannot appreciate Kierkegaard's distinctive understanding of religiousness if we view his works through the lens of a prior acceptance or rejection of Christianity, as we already understood it before encountering Kierkegaard's writings. This would not be an appropriate way of coming to terms with an idiosyncratic author who shares the Socratic conviction "that individuals must discover the truth for themselves", as Evans observes, and who calls for a return to the "conception of philosophy that inspired the Greeks" -- that is, as the critical search for a general understanding of reality that could inform a life of wisdom (29, 4). This affinity for the spirit of Greek thought, which is evident in many of Kierkegaard's pseudonymous and signed writings, is being increasingly recognized as a key to understanding his work. Indeed, it may be that our attitude toward the classical notion of philosophy as a way of life will serve as a better indication of how much we could learn from Kierkegaard's writings than our feelings about religion -- although this last suggestion might be taking the analogy between Kierkegaard and the ancients more seriously than Evans believes we ought to do. . . . Read the whole review here:

Brockelman, Thomas P. Review of Alejandro Vallega, SENSE AND FINITUDE. NDPR (November 2009).

Vallega, Alejandro A. Sense and Finitude: Encounters at the Limits of Language, Art, and the Political. Albany: SUNY Press, 2009. Alejandro Vallega's new book, Sense and Finitude: Encounters at the Limits of Language, Art, and the Political, is admirable both in its location of finitude as the key positive insight in Heidegger and in its effort, having admitted the cogency of Heidegger's technology-critique, nonetheless to maintain a certain distance from Heidegger's univocal understanding of Western History. Vallega's text also forms a significant contribution to the reception of Heidegger's Beiträge, his recently translated 1936 text documenting the German thinker's mapping of a project that, in hindsight, seems to have remained remarkably stable from the mid-1930s until his death in 1976. More problematically, Vallega argues for the continuity of Heidegger's thought from early through late, a task for which the Beiträge is especially handy. While, from my perspective, the chasm of his response to modernity opens between the two periods, there can be little doubt that, in some form, the question of finitude remains a constant for Heidegger. Recognizing this, the initial four chapters of Sense and Finitude use the Contributions to Philosophy to link the analyses of "mood", "thrownness", etc., from earlier texts such as Being and Time and the Basic Problems of Phenomenology to the later work with its technology critique and accompanying announcement of the "end of metaphysics". For Vallega, as was certainly true for Heidegger from 1936 onward, the task of living honestly as mortal human beings -- i.e., of living in a fashion that acknowledges the transcience of our experience and lives -- demands above all a response to modern technology as "what's happening" in our world. Of course, what "modern technology" means is best captured by the preferred term from the Beiträge, "machination", rather than any word implying criticism of technological objects or strategies: what Heidegger, and Vallega, have in mind, is the basic "way of seeing the world" that leads to the development of technologies -- a mode of being which increasingly reduces everything to its "potential usefulness" in such a project of control: "the future depends on the urgent production of results and technological implements for shaping and making the future safe and secure through the expansion ad infinitum of rational quantitative productions of meanings and goods" (p. 15). . . . Read the rest here:

Cfp: "Rhetoric 2.0: Continuity and Change from the Oral Tradition to the Digital Age," Texas Woman's University, February 12, 2010.

Federation Rhetoric Symposium 2010. Once a thing is put in writing, it rolls about all over the place, falling into the hands of those who have no concern with it just as easily as under the notice of those who comprehend; it has no notion of whom to address or whom to avoid. And when it is ill-treated or abused as illegitimate, it always needs its father to help it, being quite unable to protect or help itself. (Plato, Phaedrus) The Federation Rhetoric Symposium will provide an opportunity for a diverse group of scholars to investigate how today’s rhetors continue to use the wisdom of Sophistic, Classical, and Medieval rhetors who debated the validity of rhetoric, Renaissance and Modern rhetors who helped this art transition into a fully developed written tradition, and the contemporary debate about the validity of digital rhetoric. The Federation Rhetoric Symposium is now accepting proposals for papers and panels from faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and independent scholars investigating the ways rhetoric has and has not changed throughout the centuries and contemplating future continuities and changes. We are broadly defining the theme to emphasize rhetoric in all areas including but not limited to: Rhetorical Theory Rhetorical History Discourse Analysis Genre Analysis Composition Theory Communication Studies English Studies Journalism History Film Studies Digital Rhetoric New Media Studies Disability, Gender and Minority Studies Political Science Suggestions for possible areas of interest: Critical Theory Academia/Professional Issues Rhetoric & Philosophy ESL & Composition Pop Culture Rhetoric of Mass Media Literary Studies Rhetoric and Technology Computers and Writing Basic Writing Writing Center Theory & Practice Composition & Rhetoric Dr. Patricia Bizzell, 2008 Conference on College Composition and Communication Exemplar Award winner and distinguished scholar of rhetoric and public address, will be our keynote speaker at the conference. Dr. Bizzell is a prolific author and notable speaker who has written and presented on topics as diverse as composition theory, feminist research, Jewish rhetoric, the history of rhetoric. She is the founder of The Writer’s Workshop and the WAC program at College of the Holy Cross. The Federation Rhetoric Symposium is part of an ongoing series, "A Symposium in Rhetoric" that has welcomed many notable speakers since the first meeting in 1973. These keynoters have included Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, Kathleen Blake Yancey, Sonja Foss, Richard Enos, Cynthia Selfe, James Kinneavy, Kenneth Burke, Stephen Toulmin, and many others.

Cfp: "Nietzsche's Postmoralism," Department of Philosophy, University of Southampton, July 7–9, 2010.

Confirmed Plenary Speakers:
* Dan Conway (Texas & AM)
* Christa Davis Acampora (Hunter College, CUNY)
* Rainer Forst (Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt)
* Paul Loeb (Puget Sound)
* Alexander Nehamas (Princeton)
* Robert Pippin (Chicago)
* Tamsin Shaw (Princeton)
* Ivan Soll (Wisconsin-Madison)

Possible topics include (but are by no means limited to):
  • What ‘postmoralism’ is or means;
  • What sort of alternative to ‘morality’ Nietzsche intends (e.g. perfectionist or otherwise, social or individualistic);
  • Who is to bring about, or engage in, this alternative ideal;
  • Nietzsche’s ideal type;
  • How ‘immoral’ Nietzsche’s postmoralism is;
  • Which values might survive Nietzsche's critique of morality and/or feature in his positive ideal;
  • Whether Nietzsche’s postmoralism is adequately motivated by his critique of morality;
  • The justificatory/metaethical status of Nietzsche’s positive normative/evaluative claims.
We especially encourage papers that connect Nietzsche’s postmoralism to the project’s wider remit: namely, a critical assessment of Nietzsche’s significance for modern moral philosophy. For further details, see

Cfp: "Who Am I Online?," University of Aarhus, May 10-11, 2010.

As time and technology progress, how we interact with the world and each other becomes increasingly complex and articulated. The quantity and diversity of information in our environment, and the ease with which we can access that information and integrate it into our daily lives, have increased exponentially over the past decade. For many of us, the environment with which we interact has changed to make possible entirely new ways of working with information and being with others. Interest in these topics has recently been amplified by the advent of the so-called “Web 2.0”, a (continuing) expansion of interactive venues such as social networking, blogging and microblogging such as Twitter, and “pro/sumer”activities in which consumers of media content such as music and videos are simultaneously its producers. Psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists - including those whose research is gathered under the general domain of computer-mediated communication (CMC) - have for some time been interested in the ways in which such changes in our informational environment might affect us and our self-conceptions. The relevance of new technologies to our lives has attracted academic attention in large part because it appears to raise questions about how new kinds of interactions with others and our environment might alter, shape or otherwise affect our self-conceptions,our thoughts and other aspects of our cognitive, emotional and moral lives. And the project of ascertaining which properties of ourselves and our activities make essential contributions to our moral and mental lives and personhood is one in which philosophers are traditionally engaged. Yet these topics have, thus far, been relatively neglected by philosophers. This is especially strange when considered alongside the emphasis in recent philosophy of mind on the essential contributions that the embedding environment and our modes of interaction with it can make to our mental lives. If it's possible that our informational environment and our capacities for interaction with it can constitutively shape our mentalityand our moral conduct, we should consider whether radical changes in that environment and its interactive affordances may have implications for the character of our mental and moral lives, and perhaps for the sorts of persons we are. There is already significant evidence that such changes are upon us in both what we used to call the Western and Eastern worlds - most obviously, asapparent changes in self-conception are affiliated with dramatically changing understandings and expectations of ‘privacy,’ especially informational or online privacy. So, what implications do new informational environments and affordances have for philosophical and ethical views of personal identity? And what light, if any, can existing philosophical work on personal identity shine on the conceptual issues that arise when talkingand thinking about agents, environments and interactions that span or blur the real/virtual and online/offline divides? The workshop will address these issues. We welcome proposals for papers dealing with the construction of personal identities online. Please submit extended abstracts (between 1000 and 1500 words all included, preferably in MS Word format) for papers suitable for 40-minute presentations to Dave Ward ( by 31 March 2010.